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World 'Reclaimed ruins': Azerbaijan shows off Karabakh conquests

14:25  18 october  2020
14:25  18 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

Azerbaijan, Armenia report shelling of cities despite truce

  Azerbaijan, Armenia report shelling of cities despite truce BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of attacking large cities overnight in violation of the cease-fire deal brokered by Russia that seeks to end the worst outbreak of hostilities in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Azerbaijani authorities said Sunday that nine civilians have been killed and over 30 wounded after Armenian forces fired missiles overnight on Ganja, Azerbaijan's second-largest city, and hit a residential building. According to Azerbaijan's Prosecutor General's office, the city of Mingachevir also came under missile attacks early Sunday.

Nagorno- Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan , but it is populated and governed by ethnic Armenians after it was seized during Azerbaijan has insisted it has the right to reclaim the region by force, claiming the Minsk Group's efforts have failed to bring progress after three decades.

Warring parties say ceasefire over disputed territory to take effect from midnight local time.

They conquered withered vineyards and left behind burnt carcases of tanks to plant an Azerbaijani flag atop a barren hill on the edge of Nagorno-Karabakh -- overlooking nothing at all.

a person standing in front of a brick building: An Azeri soldier hangs the flag of Azerbaijan on a wall in Jabrayil © Bulent Kilic An Azeri soldier hangs the flag of Azerbaijan on a wall in Jabrayil

Fighting erupted three weeks ago between Christian ethnic Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijan over a blood-soaked patch of mountains both call part of their ancestral lands.

The Azerbaijani side has spent days trumpeting military successes that give the air of an army on the move.

"If they don't leave on their own, we'll chase them out like dogs," President Ilham Aliyev said on the eve of a new ceasefire on Sunday that both sides accused the other of immediately breaking.

Armenia, Azerbaijan tensions rise amid claims of new attacks

  Armenia, Azerbaijan tensions rise amid claims of new attacks YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated Wednesday, as both sides exchanged accusations and claims of new attacks over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where heavy fighting continues for a third week despite a cease-fire deal. In a statement compounding fears of a wider conflict, Armenian Defense Ministry claimed it reserves the right to target Azerbaijani military objects and troop movements. That followed an announcement by the Azerbaijani military that it destroyed an Armenian missile system “targeted ... to inflict casualties among the peaceful population and to destroy civilian infrastructure.

Azerbaijan 's President Ilham Aliyev described the nighttime attack as a war crime and said his army would "take Karabakh capital sees fresh shelling. Saturday's attacks came hours after Azerbaijani forces shelled Read more: Nagorno- Karabakh 's record growth in ruins amid conflict and pandemic.

The bloody flareup between Azerbaijan and Armenia over a territorial dispute risks escalating into a major regional war. The parties are fighting over Nagorno- Karabakh , a mountainous region located inside Azerbaijan , as recognised internationally, and some surrounding territories.

On Twitter, Aliyev lists towns his forces have recaptured for the first time since a 1994 truce ended a war that killed 30,000 and left the region -- to the horror of Azerbaijanis -- in separatist hands.

a man standing on a dry grass field: Jabrayil is one of the towns Azeri forces have recaptured during the conflict with Armenia over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh © Bulent Kilic Jabrayil is one of the towns Azeri forces have recaptured during the conflict with Armenia over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh

One of these towns is Jabrayil.

Yet it is not just empty after being trapped in a no-mans land splitting Nagorno-Karabakh proper from territory under Azerbaijani control -- there is simply no trace of it left.

The valley rolling down from the hill with the flag is covered with craggy bushes and a few low outlines of brick walls that have been blasted apart by rival forces for a generation.

A new weapon complicates an old war in Nagorno-Karabakh

  A new weapon complicates an old war in Nagorno-Karabakh The use of drones has upset the military balance between Azerbaijan and Armenia in their longtime dispute over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.“We don’t see them," said Katarina Abrahamyan, a 38-year-old supermarket cashier. "We hear them.

Azerbaijan said an Armenian missile had killed at least 13 civilians in Ganja, a city far from the front lines. Armenia meanwhile accused Azerbaijan of shelling residences in Stepanakert. It is the capital of the Nagorno- Karabakh region, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but run by ethnic

Armenia accused Azerbaijan of firing artillery shells, just minutes after the new cease-fire over Nagorno- Karabakh went Nagorno- Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan , but it is populated and governed Azerbaijan has insisted it has the right to reclaim the region by force

- 'Fight to the last drop of blood' -

Jabrayil's lone standing structure is a cliff-like monument equipped with running faucets that the Soviets erected to encourage "friendship and inter-ethnic peace".

a close up of a stone building that has a sign on a rock: There is no trace left of the town of Jabrayil © Bulent Kilic There is no trace left of the town of Jabrayil

A machine-gun toting soldier climbed this to unfurl an Azerbaijani flag before a clutch of reporters given access to a tightly controlled press tour of recaptured lands.

a truck driving down a dirt road: The valley rolling down from the hill in Jabrayil is covered with craggy bushes and a few low outlines of brick walls that have been blasted apart by rival forces for a generation © Bulent Kilic The valley rolling down from the hill in Jabrayil is covered with craggy bushes and a few low outlines of brick walls that have been blasted apart by rival forces for a generation

"Our enemy should know that Azerbaijani soldiers will fight to their last drop of blood to protect their motherland -- and to sacrifice their lives if required," Colonel Elshat Habilov declared before ordering the reporters back out.

How the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been shaped by past empires

  How the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been shaped by past empires A fateful decision by Stalin, and divisions drawn by the Soviet Union, still reverberate in a historic conflict that has recently re-erupted on the battlefields of the Caucasus.Residents of Stepanakert, the capital of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, enter a building damaged by a missile attack on October 3, 2020. While the majority population of the territory is ethnic Armenian, it is considered part of Azerbaijan by most of the international community.

Tensions over Nagorno- Karabakh region have caused one of Europe’s ‘frozen conflicts’ to erupt.

Azerbaijan ’s Defence Ministry said in the early hours of Sunday that Armenia had violated the new ceasefire in Nagorno- Karabakh , shelling Azerbaijani positions along the line of contact in the troubled region. "At night, the enemy launched mortar and artillery fire in the vicinity of Jabrayil, as well as the

"As we liberate our occupied lands one by one, we are gaining morale, drawing ever closer to a great victory."

That Aliyev's army wanted to showcase its hold on this uninhabited hill articulates Azerbaijan's desire to put behind it the trauma of the 1988-1994 war.

It ended with Azerbaijan losing both Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas such as Jabrayil and the nearby district of Fuzuli running along the Iranian border.

These provide access points to the southern gates of Nagorno-Karabakh and its capital Stepanakert.

- Piles of bricks -

Azerbaijan it trying to recapture the region by moving in from its southern and northern ends.

Most of its military successes have come on the border area of the conflict zone.

The exchanges of mortar and artillery fire on the north end around Terter are almost ceaseless and require residents to spend most of their time sheltering in basements.

But Azerbaijani men in fatigues raised their fists in triumph and looked at ease as they smoked along the country road leading into Jabrayil.

The tank guns and artillery pieces were still trained on the mountains but the soldiers manning them sat around campfires or idled away the time in the fields.

Wooden sticks dotted dried fields that once held up lush grapevines behind them.

Shoulder-high piles of bricks suggested the shape of houses that once lined the road.

Habilov struggled to recall the last time anyone lived in these valleys or how many people had called Jabrayil their home.

The Azerbaijani frontline is dotted with camps for families who have been forced to abandon such places.

"We have reclaimed ruins," Habilov said as he herded reporters out before the sun set over the Caucasus mountains.

"But we are also reclaiming our territorial integrity," he said.

zak/mm/txw

US-brokered ceasefire for Armenia-Azerbaijan fails, fighting continues .
A U.S.-brokered ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan appears to have collapsed. The ceasefire was announced on Sunday to begin on Monday morning, but within minutes both sides accused each other of violating the agreement and fighting has intensified since.

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